We look at how aligning sales and marketing can solve the problem of being able to generate and close leads effectively in your digital strategy.
It’s no secret that, for long-term growth and development, sales and marketing need to work in tandem. No longer can each team operate in a vacuum. With the amount of data available, an agreement can be made to measure your return on investment as your marketing team and sales team engage with prospects, leads, and customers.
At Diagram, we use HubSpot to keep our marketing and sales teams on the same page. By having transparency and data available simultaneously, we can see what each team is working on and how we can better support each other. But HubSpot goes far beyond just software; as a company, they won’t settle for anything less than a movement – including organizing the Inbound conference, providing methodology training, and collecting data about inbound marketing.
Today, HubSpot released their State of Inbound Report, and the data is astonishing. For those that don’t know, the State of Inbound is an annual report in which HubSpot gathers data from all sectors – from nonprofit to agencies to manufacturing – on trends and directions for inbound marketing. The data gathered ranges from general business demographics to detailed surveys on priorities and functions.
The report starts with organizational goals, and it’s no surprise that many key goals are built around increasing revenue. In the report, 70% of all organizations surveyed had a top sales priority of closing more deals, and 74% reported a top marketing priority of converting leads to customers. But improving growth is difficult – almost half of all companies surveyed stated they close 20% or less of their leads (and that doesn’t include the 1 in 10 companies that don’t know how many leads are converting to sales).
The Solution: Smarketing
So how can this goal of increasing revenue be achieved? The answer is “smarketing.” By aligning sales and marketing, organizations are seeing return on their investment across all levels of the sales funnel. Having a formal agreement between sales and marketing that determines roles and expectations for each team is shown in the report to be critical to success.
Of the organizations surveyed with a formal agreement, 82% were able to confidently express that their marketing strategy is effective. Two-thirds of the organizations with general alignment still saw effectiveness. But only one in three who are rarely aligned and on one in five who are misaligned saw effectiveness in their marketing efforts.
So Where Is the Disconnect?
When marketers were asked where their highest quality leads came from, 59% responded by stating their best leads came from inbound practices. However, when sales teams were asked where the best leads came from, their primary response was the best leads were directly sourced by sales – and only 22% agreed that the best leads came from marketing.
This disconnect presents a dilemma – either the marketing team doesn’t understand what the Ideal Buyer Profile is for their company to target, or sales is not properly pursuing the leads the marketing team is providing.
Without communication and understanding between sales and marketing, the story we hear too often is that there isn’t a structured communication between sales and marketing to discuss the characteristics of the ideal buyer profile. So, the sales team doesn’t convey what characteristics they are seeking in new customers. Then, the marketing efforts go towards the wrong buyer profile and persona, which means that the leads generated aren’t as good. And because these leads aren’t as good, the sales team ignores the inbound leads. And when the leads aren’t used the ROI is poor.
The Importance of Communication
At Diagram, we avoid this cycle of misalignment by scheduling structured communication between our sales and marketing teams. To better the quality of this communication, we use the technology available through HubSpot. By connecting our marketing automation platform and CRM, we are all working off the same data, and we are able to close the loop on our reporting. We find technology to be a major boost for our sales-marketing alignment.
One key aspect to maintaining this alignment is adopting and using a CRM. We’ve found the HubSpot CRM to be great for us in building our sales process. However, according the State of Inbound report, less than half of all organizations are using any CRM software to store lead and customer data. And half of those companies aren’t using a CRM because of budget and costs. Fortunately, for organizations looking for an affordable option, the HubSpot CRM is completely free.
But even when companies install a CRM in their sales process, it needs to be adopted by the individual members of the sales team. According to the report, some key challenges that can inhibit widespread adoption are the amount of manual data entry, lack of integration with other tools, and difficulty in tracking the sales funnel. We’ve found that the HubSpot CRM circumvents all of these pitfalls while integrating seamlessly with the marketing automation software to provide a holistic view of all sales and marketing efforts.
Aligning marketing and sales takes time, effort, and commitment from both departments. But the positive results of an alignment are undeniable. We found that by committing to working together, we are having better and more consistent conversations with our prospects and customers. And in today’s environment, where most of the conversation happens via the website before the prospect interacts with any sales representative, you can’t expect the revenue growth that 70% of all companies expect.
Finding your alignment can be difficult, and it can also require some strategic help and coaching. For some organizations, it means evaluating technology to fit their needs, while for others, we help blueprint an entire inbound strategy. If you’re looking to get more return on your investment in sales and marketing – from implementing inbound marketing to evaluating technology to sales enablement – give us a call, and we can discuss your path to revenue growth.
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